April, 2015


29
Apr 15

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Book: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Publisher: Abacus
Available: Out now
Summary: On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building inspires Jean to unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past.

ninageorge

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all having book-filled weeks – this week I’ve been reading Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, which is the ultimate Bank Holiday read if you were looking for a new book.

There are two things in the world that are always guaranteed to cheer me up: Paris, and a really good book. So you can imagine when Nina George’s novel landed on my desk, I immediately knew it would be right up my street. And it was, but it was so much more than I expected! I’ll be honest, I thought it would be a slightly cheesy but lovely romance novel, so I was completely caught unawares when it turned out to be a deeply moving novel that has you wanting to do a bit of soul-searching yourself. Jean Perdu is actually a bookseller who struggles to come to terms with his past, while helping others people heal their wounds with books.

I actually own a book called ‘The Novel Cure’ and it seems like Jean could have written it himself – it lists all different books and when the best time to read them is, i.e a particularly great novel for heartbreak, or if you’re bored or having an existential crisis.. Anyway, this novel had a lot more depth to it than I thought. It’s almost impossible not to get attached to Jean – even when he’s being stubborn or frustrating he eventually comes around and you feel like you’re going on this emotional and physical journey with him.

I thought Nina captured the essence of Paris but also Provence perfectly. There’s a lovely mix between the charm of the city and the charm of the countryside and it almost made want to get on a barge and go on an adventure (but then I remembered when I went on a canal boat once and got major cabin fever so I stayed put on the sofa under my blanket!). Jean is joined on his journey by Max, an author struggling to decide what his next novel will be after writing a bestseller.What I really like is that every character has a moving story – for example, Max has a complicated relationship with his Dad, Jean is trying to work through grief and heartbreak, and then they’re joined by various eccentric characters from a flamboyant singer to a passionate Italian chef, who all work through their issues.

In terms of literature, there are so many books mentioned throughout the story,  both real novels and made-up ones, for a bookworm like me it was an absolute dream and basically made for an extra reading list.

I would definitely recommend this to any book nerd out there, or anyone who would describe themselves as a bit of a dreamer. It’s brilliant!

What are you all reading?

Julie xx

 


7
Apr 15

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

Book: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Available: Thursday 9th April
Summary: Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother. Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print and her mortgage repayments are staggering. When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

kirsty

I’m a big fan of Kirsty Greenwood and her website Novelicious, so when she revealed she had written a book I couldn’t wait to read it. I was not disappointed.

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is the ultimate chick lit book – there’s romance, humour, great characters and plot twists. I couldn’t put it down, and pretty much read it in one sitting!

The novel follows protagonist Jessica Beam, who is fabulous. She’s a bit of a liability but she has a good heart, she’s outspoken, she’s funny.. Jessica is also pretty inspirational, because she’s unapologetic about her life choices, it’s pretty refreshing for a protagonist not to be making excuses for their behaviour.

To be honest, there wasn’t one character in the story I didn’t like. Even the ‘baddie’ Summer is fabulous with her glamorous life and absolute disregard for anyone that she deems unhelpful to her career.

There’s also Jessica’s old-fashioned yet adorable Grandma, the slightly desperate but funny Peaches, and the very forgiving Jamie (you will know why that is my description of him when you read the book!). Then of course, there’s Leo, the dashing love interest, the ‘eternal bachelor’ who Jessica strives to win over.

This is a light-hearted book, but there are some deeper themes that I really admired Kirsty for touching upon, particularly Jessica’s struggle as she comes to terms with the loss of her mother.

All in all, this book was fabulous. A great read for a holiday or a lazy afternoon. Be warned though – it will make you want to hit the shops and deck yourself out in full vintage outfits.

Hope you all had lovely Easters, let me know what you have been reading!

Julie xxx

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